New Book Claims Pope Francis Interfered with Whistleblowing Priest

A new book’s explosive claim that Pope Francis personally met with and “quizzed” a parish priest who was going to share his knowledge regarding a clergy sexual abuse and cover-up case with local police once again lays bare the hypocrisy of Catholic leaders in Rome.

Pope Francis and his colleagues drag their feet when it comes to investigating and punishing abusers and enablers. However, in this case, they reacted with lightning speed when they learned that Fr. Glen Walsh was going to give police information related to how Archbishop Phillip Wilson of Adelaide, Australia, handled abuse allegations. According to the book Altar Boys, Fr. Walsh was summoned to the Vatican and made to answer questions about why he was involved in a case against an archbishop and what he intended to tell the police.

In addition to questions from Pope Francis, Fr. Walsh was also reportedly subjected to poor treatment in his home diocese due to his history of reporting abuse to police and his decision to cooperate with law enforcement in the case against Archbishop Wilson. Sadly, this treatment led to Fr. Walsh’s suicide before he was able to give his evidence.

It is beyond disturbing that Fr. Walsh sustained bullying, harassment, and intimidation simply because he wanted to do the right thing. It seems that Fr. Walsh’s superiors viewed his silence as a greater virtue than his willingness to speak truth to power. We mourn for Fr. Walsh and hope that his example will inspire other priests-of-integrity to come forward, share their information with local police and prosecutors, and help expose the hypocrisy and culpability of Catholic leaders who would prefer to hid abuse in the shadows rather than fight it in the sunlight.

Following the publication of Altar Boys, Australian politicians have called for a police inquiry into Fr. Walsh’s death. We echo that call and hope that the secular justice system can help deliver the kind of justice that Fr. Walsh sought during his life while also exposing the men who helped create the kind of system against which Fr. Walsh was fighting.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org; our Australia website is SNAPAustralia.org) 


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